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Judge Inclined to Reject Bridgestone Suit Request

January 07, 2003|From Bloomberg News

A U.S. district judge in Los Angeles said Monday that she is inclined to reject a request by Japan's Bridgestone Corp. to throw out or transfer to federal court a lawsuit seeking a nationwide recall of 30 million Firestone Steeltex tires used on Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. vehicles.

"These are essentially state claims," Judge Christina Snyder said at a hearing. She will study the matter further before ruling on the request.

U.S. regulators conducted an 18-month investigation into the tires but concluded there was no evidence of a defect. Bridgestone has settled dozens of lawsuits after other tires made by the company's Nashville-based U.S. unit were linked to as many as 271 deaths by federal safety officials.

The suit by Roger Littell of Cathedral City claims that a manufacturing defect has caused blowouts in four tires while he was driving. In addition to the recall, the suit seeks compensation for anyone who was injured by the alleged defect and reimbursement for replacement tires. The Steeltex tires are original equipment on some Ford F-250 and F-350 pickup trucks as well as Ford Excursion and GM Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicles.

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